I catch myself most every day still.
Even after all these short years, reminders and memories hit me during the strangest of times with my heart jamming in my throat like my kids jam their knees in my side as we play puppy or transformers or kick tag.
It’s in the little things. It’s in the big ones. It’s in his memory loss. It’s in his new walk tilted with an ever-slight limp not many would even notice. It’s in his head slant while he drives trying to force two objects into one. It’s in his Botox injections. It’s right below his Adam’s apple where his once smooth neck carries a dime-sized mark indented a bit where the tubes once lived.
Lately, it’s been this latter one that catches at me most.
This heartthrob I get, this snag of my breath, this drop of a tear or moment of stillness where I almost can’t move, is never one of pity for him or myself. Never one of wishing things differently for us, or that none of it had happened.
It’s simply my reminder.
Located in the most perfect of places for me to see, just about eye level, pink against his white skin, the size of my thumbprint. I wondered if it would always pop at me like the cherry it was when he first came home. I wondered if he’d be embarrassed about it. It had saved his life, breathing for him when he could not, but still, there it sits now, forever a part of him.
Believe me, I know what life I should be living with Graham. I know I should be pushing him around in a wheel chair, or unable to push him at all. I know I should be feeding him myself, helping him communicate, move him from the bed, to the toilet, to the shower, to his clothes. I know I should be throwing the ball to his boys, wrestling them, tucking them in.
I know all this because I know how close I came to losing him.
At night while he sleeps his deepest sleep, his brain so tired when the sun sets, I sometimes reach my hand to his neck and trace that scar with my finger. I feel it to see if it’s still there, still smooth, still dipped in. When I do this I can hear the ventilator pushing air; I hear the beeping, the stillness, the plastic wrappings holding sterile equipment being opened and tossed into the trash. I smell those hospital smells, I can smell Graham lying there and remember how he didn’t smell the same after awhile. I see nurses and doctors, family. I see elevators and feel the long rides, the sleepless nights.
Some days that scar on his neck hits me right between the eyes with all The Lord has done. Things like healthy babes, and a happy marriage and a roof over our heads with food and more clothing and shoes than we need; a secure job with heat to stay warm and even room for a few extras. Love for each other and our God. Forgiveness, tender mercies. Grace and gratitude. The list goes on and on.
I’d love to say it’s like this everyday for me, this constant remembrance, visual of sorts that I have. But many days that silly scar almost vanishes under my insecurities, my impatience with Graham or the kids, my plain weariness from life. It just about fades as I grasp for more and feel I deserve this or that and demand my way with time for myself. It’s as if it’s not even there.
I’m learning we all have them, these perfectly placed scars, some unseen but still felt, others set meticulously in our way, prodding us not into self-pity, anger, but more into love for one another, forgiveness, patience, a heart of gratefulness, thanksgiving.
I am not special, or different from anybody else. The scars I have are no deeper than the next persons. We have them like the noses on our face. Where things differ is what we do with these scars. When we choose to remember our history story with Jesus our perspectives and lives change. It’s good to remember the past.
I remember when Graham first opened his eyes. It was enough. I was so thankful!
But then he started twitching fingers and toes and trying to do a few other small movements. Suddenly, open eyes wasn’t a big deal. I wasn’t thankful for that anymore because I had moved onto ‘bigger and better’ things.
Now, I’ve got him back and only a few things remain for me to even see where we once were. That scar is one of them.
I’m thankful for that scar. I’m thankful it’s right there in front of me, everyday peering out, looking right into my soul, reminding me of so much more than I could ever share, even with Graham.
I just have to choose to see it!
What we’ve been up to:
This baby has a joyful soul!
Bat-girl! She protects me during the day!
we are obsessed with coloring, drawing, painting and anything art-related!
We also love star-wars! I’ve gotten quite good at playing Darth Vader complete with my own light saber!
just some recent pictures of the kids.
Graham getting some air behind the snowmobile
Grammy and her ‘boyfriend’
Graham with his other ‘leading lady’
Some of my favorite ‘men’